Race/Ethnicity and the Geographic Distribution of Law Firm Jobs Taken by New Graduates - Class of 2008

NALP Bulletin, October 2009

Among law school graduates taking jobs in private practice, minorities are somewhat more likely than their non-minority peers to take jobs in one of the 20 largest employment markets for new graduates. As Table 1 shows, of law firm jobs taken by the Class of 2008, not quite half (49%) were taken in the 20 cities providing the most jobs to that class. However, among racial/ethnic minorities as a whole the figure was 59% compared with 46% among non-minorities. Looking at specific racial/ethnic groups, Asian/Pacific Islander graduates are most concentrated in these cities (64% of law firm jobs). In contrast, 60% of law firm jobs taken by Native American graduates are located outside of the 20 cities.

At the same time, as Table 2 shows, the proportion of jobs taken by minorities in each of the 20 cities ranged from a high of 42% in Miami to 15% or less in Cleveland, Denver, Indianapolis, and New Orleans. In some cities, one specific group dominates minority graduates. In Los Angeles, New York, San Diego, San Francisco, and Seattle, it is Asian/Pacific Islanders; in Miami it is Hispanics; and in Atlanta and Cleveland it is Black/African-American graduates. In Dallas and Philadelphia, Asian/Pacific Islanders and Black/African Americans are more equally prevalent. In a few cities — Dallas, Houston, and Phoenix — the mix between these three groups is relatively even.



Table 1. Geographic Distribution of Law Firm Jobs Taken by the Class of 2008

Law Firm Jobs Taken by: % in 20 Largest Cities % in Other Locations # of Jobs
All graduates 49.3% 50.7% 20,281
Non-minorities 46.6 53.4 14,833
All minorities 59.0 41.0 3,924
American Indian/Alaska Native 39.0 61.0 90
Asian/Pacific Islanders 64.4 35.6 1,659
Black/African-Americans 58.2 41.8 898
Hispanics 53.0 47.0 1,032
Multi-racial 58.4 41.6 245

Note: All counts exclude law firm jobs for which location was not reported. All counts, except the overall count, exclude jobs taken by graduates for whom race/ethnicity was not reported. The Asian/Pacific Islander category includes East Indian/Pakistani graduates.


Table 2. Distribution of Law Firm Jobs by Race/Ethnicity in 20 Cities — Class of 2008

City Native American Asian/Pacific Islander Black/African-American Hispanic Multi-racial Total Minority Caucasian # of Jobs
Atlanta 0.24 6.08 12.17 2.68 20.19 78.83 411
Austin 1.89 5.66 2.83 12.26 19.81 77.36 106
Boston 0.46 8.97 2.30 3.68 1.38 15.86 83.22 435
Chicago 0.20 10.07 5.96 4.59 0.59 18.67 78.59 1,023
Cleveland 4.86 7.03 2.70 0.54 14.59 84.86 185
Dallas 0.29 7.51 5.49 5.49 1.45 19.08 79.77 346
Denver 5.52 1.84 4.91 0.61 11.04 87.12 163
Houston 0.49 11.03 6.62 8.33 0.25 23.04 73.28 408
Indianapolis 2.65 3.54 5.31 11.50 88.50 113
Los Angeles 0.46 22.58 4.61 7.07 1.69 33.79 63.59 651
Miami 3.89 4.28 31.13 3.11 41.25 57.59 257
Minneapolis/St. Paul 0.43 4.72 4.72 3.00 3.00 15.88 84.12 233
New Orleans 0.69 4.86 6.94 2.08 0.69 14.58 84.72 144
New York City 0.20 13.57 5.73 4.59 2.32 24.58 73.59 2,461
Philadelphia 0.35 9.34 7.27 2.77 1.38 19.03 78.89 289
Phoenix 3.18 5.10 4.46 8.92 21.02 78.34 157
San Diego 0.33 14.57 2.32 9.27 1.32 24.17 72.19 302
San Francisco 21.51 4.57 5.91 2.15 31.72 65.86 372
Seattle 2.25 15.17 2.25 5.62 2.81 26.40 71.91 178
Washington, DC 0.40 10.84 7.43 5.72 1.81 23.90 73.80 996

Note: Law firm jobs taken by graduates for whom race/ethnicity was not reported are excluded from this table. The Asian/Pacific Islander category includes East Indian/Pakistani graduates.

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